The Seventh Phase – The Post 2000 Democracy

Eventually, curtains were called on the democratic set-up when the government of Mian Nawaz Sharif was dismissed through the fourth military coup on October 12, 1999. Parliament was only restored in 2002 with major amendments in the 1973 Constitution, brought in shape of a “Legal Framework Order 2002”. Under this LFO, the long-standing popular demand of reserving seats for women was accepted in principle. It had been demanded that women should be given at least 33% representation. However, the LFO agreed to 17%, devoting 60 seats in a 342-Member National Assembly and 17 in a 100-Member Senate. Under this new arrangement, election procedure for these reserved seats was also changed and “List System” was introduced. The emerging parliamentary groups, thus, were to get these seats in proportion to their general representation in the House.

Elections were held on October 10, 2002 and this time, the tally of women returning from the General Seats, improved in a considerable number, crossing the double-digit figure for the first time. Initially, 13 women were elected. However, one of them, Ms. Eman Wasim vacated her seat, enabling Mr. Shaukat Aziz’s eventual election as the country’s Prime Minister.

 Women Members Elected on General Seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan 2002-2007

Sr. No.NameConstituency
1Ms. Eman Wasim (PML-Q) (resigned in 2004)NA-59 Attock-III
2Ms. Sumaira Malik (NA)NA-69 Khushab-I
3Mst. Ghulam Bibi Bharwana (PML-Q)NA-87 Jhang-II
4Ms. Saima Akhtar Bharwana (Ind)NA-90 Jhang-V
5Ms. Riffat Javaid Kahlon (PML-Q)NA-117 Narowal-III
6Ms. Samina Khalid Ghurki (PPP-P)NA-130 Lahore-XIII
7Ms. Rubina Shaheen Wattoo (Ind)NA-147 Okara-V
8Mrs. Khalida Mohsin Ali (PPP-P)NA-176 Muzafargarh-I
9Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar (PML-Q)NA-177 Muzafargarh-II
10Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho (PPP-P)NA-213 Nawabshah-I
11Mrs. Shamshad Sattar Bachani (PPP-P)NA-223 Hyderabad-VI
12Dr. Fehmida Mirza (PPP-P)NA-225 Badin-II
13Ms. Zubaida Jalal (PML-Q)Na-272 Kech-cum-Gawadar

Source: Library of National Assembly of Pakistan Records

Besides, another 60 women were also elected as Members of the National Assembly on Reserved Seats.

 Women Members Elected on Reserved Seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan 2002-2007

Sr. No.NameConstituency
1Ms. Mehnaz Rafi (PML-Q)Punjab
2Dr. Hajira Tariq Aziz (PML-Q)Punjab
3Ms. Tanzeela Aamir Cheema (PML-Q)Punjab
4Dr. Donya Aziz (PML-Q)Punjab
5Ms. Kashmala Tariq (PML-Q)Punjab
6Dr. Saira Tariq (PML-Q)Punjab
7Mrs. Riffat Amjad (PML-Q)Punjab
8Dr. Attiya Inayatullah  (PML-Q)Punjab
9Ms. Bushra Rehaman (PML-Q)Punjab
10Ms. Farzeen Ahmed Sarfaraz (PML-Q)Punjab
11Shahzadi Umer Zadi Tiwana (PML-Q)Punjab
12Ms. Raheela Munawar (PML-Q)Punjab
13Prof. Aasiya Azeem (PML-Q)Punjab
14Dr. Firdaus Ashiq Awan (PML-Q)Punjab
15Begum Tehmina Dasti (PML-Q)Punjab
16Ms. Onaza Ehsan (PML-Q)Punjab
17Ms. Bushra Anwar Sipra (PML-Q)Punjab
18Dr. Rozina Tufail (PML-Q)Punjab
19Ms. Tahira Asif (PML-Q)Punjab
20Ms. Naheed Khan (PPP-P)Punjab
21Ms. Beelum Hasnain (PPP-P)Punjab
22Ms. Shakeela Khanum Rashid (PPP-P)Punjab
23Ms. Fauzia Habib (PPP-P)Punjab
24Ms. Mehreen Anwar Raja (PPP-P)Punjab
25Ms. Yasmeen Rehman (PPP-P)Punjab
26Begum Shahnaz Shaikh (PPP-P-P)Punjab
27Ms. Rukhsana Bangash (PPP-P)Punjab
28Ms. Naseem Chaudhary (PPP-P)Punjab
29Ms. Samia Raheel Qazi (MMA)Punjab
30Ms. Maimoona Hashmi (PML-N)Punjab
31Begum Ishrat Ashraf (PML-N)Punjab
32Begum Tehmina Daultana (PML-N)Punjab
33Begum Rehana Aleem Mashhadi (PML-J)Punjab
34Ms. Meena Laghari (NA)Punjab
35Ms. Ayla Malik (NA)Punjab
36Ms. Fiza Junejo (PML-Q)Sindh
37Ms. Shery Rehman (PPP-P)Sindh
38Ms. Ruqaia Khanum Soomro (PPP-P)Sindh
39Ms. Fauzia Wahab (PPP-P)Sindh
40Ms. Rubina Saddat Qaimkhani (PPP-P)Sindh
41Ms. Nafisa Munawar Raja (PPP-P)Sindh
42Ms. Shagufta Jumani (PPP-P)Sindh
43Dr. Farida Ahmed (MMA)Sindh
44Ms. Aisha Munawar (MMA)Sindh
45Ms. Shamim Akhtar (MQM)Sindh
46Ms. Afsar Begum (MQM)Sindh
47Ms. Shabina Talat (MQM)Sindh
48Ms. Gul-e-Farkhanda (NA)Sindh
49Ms. Khurshid Afghan (PML-F)Sindh
50Ms. Zaib Gohar Ayub (PML-Q)N.W.F.P.
51Sayyada Farhana Khalid Banoori (MMA)N.W.F.P.
52Ms. Razia Aziz (MMA)N.W.F.P.
53Nayyar Sultan (MMA)N.W.F.P.
54Ms. Jamila Ahmed (MMA)N.W.F.P.
55Ms. Ambareen Naseem (MMA)N.W.F.P.
56Ms. Inayat Begum (MMA)N.W.F.P.
57Ms. Shahida Akhtar Ali (MMA)N.W.F.P.
58Dr. Noor Jahan Panezai (PML-Q)Balochistan
59Ms. Imrana Khawar (MMA)Balochistan
60Ms. Bilqees Saif (MMA)Balochistan

Source: Library of National Assembly of Pakistan Records

In addition to the above, Ms. Asiya Nasir was also elected on one of the seats reserved for the Minorities.

In the re-constituted Senate as well, 17 women (4 from each province and 1 from the Federal Capital) were elected. Table XVI reflects all the names of women Senators, who served during the six years for their respective terms.

 Women Senators Elected on Reserved Seats in the Senate of Pakistan 2003-2009

Sr. No.NameConstituency
1Dr. Nighat Agha (retired in 2006)Punjab
2Ms. Gulshan SaeedPunjab
3Ms. Rozina Alam KhanPunjab
4Ms. Saadia AbbasiPunjab
5Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar (elected in 2006)Punjab
6Ms. Abida Saif (retired in 2006)Sindh
7Bibi Yasmeen ShahSindh
8Engr. Rukhsana ZubairiSindh
9Ms. Nighat Mirza (retired in 2006)Sindh
10Ms. Tanveer Khalid (elected in 2006)Sindh
11Ratna Bhagwandas (elected in 2006)Sindh
12Ms. Sameen Yousuf Siddiqui (elected in 2006)Sindh
13Ms. Anisa Zaib TahirkheliN.W.F.P.
14Dr. Kausar FirdausN.W.F.P.
15Ms. Fauzia Fakhar-uz-ZamanN.W.F.P.
16Ms.Mumtaz Bibi (retired in 2006)N.W.F.P.
17Ms. Afia Zia (elected in 2006)N.W.F.P.
18Ms. Pari Gul AghaBalochistan
19Ms. Kalsoom ParveenBalochistan
20Ms. Roshan Khursheed Barocha
(retired in 2006)
21Ms. Shereen Noor (retired in 2006)Balochistan
22Ms. Raheela Yahya Baluch (elected in 2006)Balochistan
23Ms. Sabina Rauf (elected in 2006)Balochistan
24Ms. Tahira LatifFederal Capital

Source: Library of Senate of Pakistan Records

Hence, with a total of 74 women Members and some 17 Senators at one given time, this was the highest number of female representation, ever achieved in the corridors of power. Consequently, many women were included in the Federal Cabinet, appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries and also elected as Chairpersons of various Standing Committees. Ms. Zubaida Jalal remained a Federal Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali while Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar was appointed as Advisor. She was later inducted as full Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, which also had Ms. Sumaira Malik and Ms. Zubaida Jalal as Federal Ministers and Ms. Hina Rabani Khar, Ms. Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Ms. Anisa Zaib Tahirkheli and Ms. Shahnaz Sheikh as Ministers of State. Besides, 6 other women Members were made Parliamentary Secretaries while 9 were elected as Chairpersons of the National Assembly’s Standing Committees.

A move to establish a Women’s Parliamentary Caucus was also made during this time period but remained unsuccessful in the deeply polarised political scenario.